Jul 4, 2011

Is Me

The Fantastical Type

Have you ever been in a meeting and had an absolutely hilarious vision flash across your brain? Maybe the speaker suddenly reminded you of a rhinoceros, or you had a quick vision of everyone in the room jumping up, singing a bar of Alice’s Restaurant, and walking out. Regardless, you’re now in the middle of this serious business meeting, and you’re struggling to keep from laughing out loud.

If this sounds the least bit familiar, then you’re probably a Fantastical personality.

Fantasticals are spontaneous, passionate and imaginative. Have you ever sat down with a challenge and mapped out how you would solve it, just because it was interesting? Chances are you’ve kept various notebooks throughout your life, and those pages have held everything from blueprints for triangular houses to snippets of poetry to thoughts on the physics of planets in a solar system with eight stars, along with everything in between. You likely find the world to be inherently interesting, and you love exploring it.

For Fantasticals, if the materials for a project aren’t in plain sight, they’re as good as forgotten. You tend to store things in piles, and you know exactly what’s in every stack. It’s not that your incapable of filing – when it catches your interest, you can run through two years of filing in an afternoon. But you don’t do well with repetition, and it will probably be another two years until filing becomes novel enough for you to experiment with it again. But when you’re working on something, all the pieces have to be in front of you. If it’s filed away, you likely won’t remember that it’s there until someone points it out to you.

The key to organization for a fantastical is not in eliminating the piles, but rather to preserve them. You need those piles, and you need the space to lay things out and brainstorm. The idea office for a fantastical has lots of shelving to store the piles and table space to spread things out and really get into them. A whiteboard or some other large writing area is a great addition as well.

Time management is a bit of an oxymoron for fantasticals. You tend to ignore time when you’re caught up in a project, or you’ll find what you’re working on to be more interesting than the activity you’d planned. If it’s just you, no problem if you forget to eat dinner, but if your day involves anyone else, they tend not to look kindly on your constant, “I was working on a really cool idea, let me tell you about it,” excuses. Make use of the alarms on your cell phone or calendar program on your computer. It also helps to enlist your companions to remind you of the commitments you’ve made with them. In situations that don’t involve time, writing notes to yourself and putting them in places you can’t miss can work wonders.

In terms of productivity, there’s one important thing for fantasticals to keep in mind. You *really* don’t do well with repetition. Things like filing, writing case reports, sifting through studies to extract information? Ain’t gonna happen unless it happens rarely enough to be novel. So the trick to increasing your productivity is to a) make these tasks as infrequent as possible and b) approach them in such a way as to make them interesting. Can you attach them to a more interesting project, or sandwich them between something you find more interesting?

To summarize, fantastical personalities are

  • spontaneous and passionate
  • creative and imaginative, and
  • they thrive on variety and originality

The weaknesses of fantastical personalities are that they

  • are easily bored with repitition
  • can become engrossed in a project to the exclusion of everything around them, and
  • they may have difficulty following a task through to the end.

If you are a fantastical personality, the best way to improve your organization, time management and productivity is to

  • create a filing system that is visual and vertical to keep active projects in sight
  • preserve spaces for brainstorming, and
  • use alarms and/or willing friends and family to remind yourself of commitments that involve other people